Ballina get AIL return off to winning start

Rugby

In their first game back on the national level, Ballina left it late, but they still picked up a victory over visitors Omagh in memorable fashion last weekend. New Zealander Chris O'Neill touched down with the final play of the game, to give the Heffernan Park outfit a 23-19 win over their Ulster opponents.

Ballina had led 15-6 at the turnaround, thanks to tries from Tim Wallace after good work by Dan Molloy, followed by touchdowns by Kieran Lindsay and Aiden McNulty. The Moysiders had other chances to push themselves further ahead before the short-whistle but failed to convert them, setting up a nervous ending.

Both sides swapped scores early in the second half, but the visitors kept eating into the Ballina lead and when Luke Hanson got over for a converted try that was followed by a Stuart Ballantine penalty - the visitors had edged into a 19-18 lead as time ticked down.

But Ballina didn't panic and they won the restart before the ball was worked up the field for O'Neill to touchdown, getting the All Ireland league off to a winning start.

This weekend will see Ballina hit the road in round two, when they head to Spollanstown to take on a Tullamore side who were beaten 29-15 by City of Derry last weekend in their league opener.

Junior League sides look for early season promise

Both Castlebar and Westport will be looking to pick up wins this weekend in round three of the Connacht Junior League 1 when they take on Creggs and Buccaneers respectively. Both sides will be in action tomorrow evening, with the county town men, who were promoted from Junior 2 last season, taking on Creggs at home in Cloondeash at 7.30pm, while at the same time Westport will be in the midlands taking on Buccaneers. Westport picked up their first league win of the season with a 14-10 win over Sligo in round two, following their opening day loss to Creggs by 13 points on the road. Castlebar lost a thriller at home to Galwegians 28-27 in round one, with the pain of that defeat slightly relieved by picking up four bonus points for their efforts.

In Junior League 2, Ballinrobe will be looking to bounce back from their loss to Corinthians last time out, when they take on Ballinasloe at home in the third round of the league. The do have a win in their column from their opening day win over Loughrea and will be hoping to make it two from three on Sunday.

Ballyhaunis have no game in Junior League 3, but Ballina's second string will be in action when they take on Oughterard

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